Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible Coupe
The Corvair was Chevrolet’s entry in the 1960 “compact car” market, the U.S. auto industry’s attempt to combat the onslaught of economical import cars. Where Ford’s Falcon and Chrysler’s Valiant had conventional front-engine rear-drive architecture, Chevy’s Ed Cole looked abroad for inspiration. Choosing the rear-engine drive layout of the Volkswagen, he gave it a nudge in the Porsche direction by specifying a six-cylinder engine in the air-cooled boxer idiom.
In fact, it was Porsche enthusiasts who were most attracted to the Corvair, not ecomony-minded VW folk. For them, a Monza model was created, a smart coupe with sporting appointments like bucket seats with leather-like vinyl upholstery, spiffy trim, and faux wire wheel covers. By 1963, a Monza Spyder with a turbocharged 150 brake horsepower engine was offered. The standard Corvair engine was uprated to take the turbo thrust, and the special trim was topped off by a 120 mph speedometer.
Unfortunately, safety crusader Ralph Nader took aim at the Corvair, denouncing its swing axle rear suspension because of its tendency to induce oversteer. Suspension redesign for 1964 did not halt the criticism, and in the ensuing mêlée, GM just gave up on the Corvair, producing steadily diminishing quantities through 1969.
This car is one of the last Corvairs; in fact, the best of the last. Although the Monza name was still intact, the turbocharger and prestige appointments were gone. It has the most powerful engine offered in ’69: the 140 brake horsepower four-carburetor six coupled to a four-speed manual transmission. Equipped with an AM radio, a heater, seat belts, and windshield washer, it comes with an original owner’s manual. The condition is very good and shows little wear on the largely all-original car. The upholstery and convertible top are both black vinyl, and the Butternut yellow paint is nicely set off by full wire wheel covers.
Just 521 Corvair Monza convertibles were built for 1969. This is surely one of the nicest.
140 bhp, 164.0 cu. in. OHV flat-six engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel coil spring independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108 in.
Part of the RM Auctions event for the John Staluppi auction in 2012.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Teddy Pieper